Everbank Stadium and Duval County hosted their first Monday Night Football game in 12 years as the Cincinnati Bengals came to town to wrap up week 13 of the NFL season. Jake Browning will be eating free Skyline chili for life after his impressive night in his first career NFL win as a starter by dueling all night with Trevor Lawrence. Browning would finish the game 32/37 for 354 yards, 2 total touchdowns, and an interception. Overtime was needed to settle a matchup that would end with CJ Beathard filling in for Lawrence after he suffered what initial reports are thinking is an ankle injury with a little over eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. The former first overall pick would finish 22/29 for 258 yards and 2 touchdowns. Beathard drove the Jaguars down the field on a 9 play 53 yard drive to set up Brandon McManus for a game tying 40-yard field goal. Cincinnati’s defense would hold Beathard and the Jaguars on their opening possession of overtime allowing Jake Browning to execute a 12 play 42 yard drive to position Evan McPherson to drill a 48-yard field goal to upset the Jaguars and get the Bengals back to .500 at 6-6.
Cincinnati is now back in the playoff hunt after upsetting a Jacksonville squad that could have obtained the top seed in the AFC with a win tonight. The Bengals were double digit underdogs coming into tonight's game and stepped up to the challenge through establishing the run which then allowed Browning to establish himself in this game. The Bengals ran for a total of 156 rushing yards and Joe Mixon finished with 19 carries for 68 yards and 2 touchdowns to spearhead a hard-nosed Bengals rushing attack. Cincinnati’s success on the ground was complimented by Jake Browning’s career game and allowed the young quarterback to stay calm and collected all night and find his primary receiver, Jamar Chase. Chase seemed to be a focal point of the Bengals game plan, 11 receptions for 149 yards and a 76 yard touchdown catch that highlighted the night Browning curated. Zach Taylor’s trust in his backup quarterback blossomed into a major upset on primetime and has revitalized a season that was almost doomed to be over after franchise quarterback Joe Burrow injured his wrist in week 11 and is out for the remainder of the season. The Bengals now look to host a 7-5 Indianapolis Colts squad that are on a playoff hunt themselves, especially after Trevor Lawrence could potentially be missing significant time and are now only one game back from the Jaguars in the AFC South. Look for Browning to continue this confident form, he’ll need it against another young confident quarterback in Gardner Minshew.
Jaguars fans will have a hard time sleeping tonight after having to go to bed wondering what the state of their franchise quarterback is. Trevor Lawrence’s injury will greatly impact the back half of the Jaguars season even if Lawrence will be able to play next week in Cleveland given his initial reactions after getting fallen on. CJ Beathard looked decent in his first drive but will not be enough to keep this Jaguars team in a playoff position if Lawrence will not return for the rest of the season. A lot is up in the air at the moment but the Jaguars can be somewhat happy with knowing that Travis Etienne is still their RB1 after 11 rushes for 45 yards and his eighth rushing touchdown of the season. Hopefully we can see the Clemson alum again this season and potentially see Duval County host a playoff game but only time will tell where this team will end up.